In a well-publicised and suspiciously originated piece of research conducted on behalf of MiniJust, doubt is thrown on the "efficient" working of juries. Far better, you may think, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to leave it all to us and not worry your pretty little heads about it.
Meanwhile, the case against Cossor Ali, in which she is being tried for not acting as a police informer against her husband (despite not knowing exactly what he was going to do), continues.
Also, support for killing the terminally ill grows, according to a poll conducted by YouGov, perhaps not entirely coincidentally well-timed to announce its results just before well-loved author Terry Pratchett was permitted to use his fame and the (exceptionally-well-publicised this year) platform of the BBC's annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture to air his euthanistic views. YouGov is not, officially, a politically-sponsored organisation, but was founded in May 2000 by Stephan Shakespeare (ne Kukowski), a former Socialist Worker and Conservative Party candidate who owns some prominent political websites including ConservativeHome. He may not be directly controlled by any party (though how far do they differ these days?), but oh, for his contacts book!
An old Nazi writes:
"What is all this nonsense of wives not reporting their criminal husbands? In my day, children could inform on their parents, and quite right, too. I trust the Cossor Ali case will set a valuable precedent.
"It is refreshing to see that after the unpleasantness of the late 1930s and early 1940s, and the vilification of us and our ideas in the decades since then, the principles of right-thinking people are finally being rediscovered and properly valued. Gratifyingly, British political parties have been drawing together for decades, forming a consensus on which the New Society can be built. Once the people have asserted their power to deal with all the fleas that multiply on their backs and weaken them, we shall become clean and healthy again.
"A vital first step was the establishment of the right to make the problem of inconvenient children go away. Some 7 million such problems have been solved in the UK since 1968, the overwhelming majority on legal ground C ("The continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman"). You will note, of course, that the "injury" does not have to be grave, and can therefore be interpreted to mean as little as a mild social or financial embarrassment.
"The killing of unborn cripples is covered by ground E, and I see that a fruitful extension of this principle has been called for by doctors as lately as 2006, so that newborns may be included in your cost-effective program. Quite rightly, these doctors draw attention to the interests of the family as a whole, and this offers a promising route to including the needs of society at large, especially when so many families are supported by public funds.
"Crime is another kind of disorder in which society most definitely has an interest, and Freakonomics author Steven Levitt famously argued that abortion has been a great boon in this regard. There are those who say his research is fatally flawed, but even if the details are wrong, surely he was on the right lines. The poor are a great burden, and their lives are so messy.
"But you cannot always tell in advance when someone will turn out to be one of Life's failed experiments. Once we have established postnatal abortion, pre-decline "mercy killings" and the execution by thirst of those in a persistent vegetative state, we should be in a position to reformulate the fundamental principles on which society operates.
"How much longer, for example, must felons be spared - so weakly, so expensively, so anomalously - their worthless and destructive lives? Why should the guilty not share the fate of the troublesome innocents you dispatch in such numbers? This is so illogical of you British; but then, my people used to proud of their ability to think. As Menzel said, "Das sinnige deutsche Volk liebt es zu denken und zu dichten, und zum Schreiben hat es immer Zeit." Only connect, ja?
"Before that becomes possible, (and now, it seems, may be the time) we will have to address the unreliability of courts, juries and the appeals system. I confidently expect the evolution of a form of Volksgerichthof in due course, though before that you may need to reeducate public opinion. Perhaps a first step would be revisionist histories on TV to neutralize the pernicious legacies of Magna Carta, 1688, Common Law, natural justice, equity etc. All this blether about historical rights causes nothing but delay and frustration, and comes from undesirable elements of the community. If the people come together, guided by prominent figures and facilitated by mass communication, and shout long and loudly enough, all such divisive opposition will vanish. We live and work today for a bright, efficient, socially harmonious tomorrow, not for a superstitious and contradictory past."